Revelation 2:12-17
The Church at Pergamos
(Rev 2:12 KJV)
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

The next letter is to the church at Pergamos. This letter begins with the description of Christ who has the sharp sword with to edges. The two edges are mercy and judgment. Christ has the authority to bring both testing upon the churches and blessings. In the book of Revelation we will see how Satan brings persecution to the church but all the while he is under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and can progress no further than he is allowed to.

(Rev 2:13 KJV)
I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Here the Lord Jesus Christ commends the church at Pergamos by assuring them that he is fully aware of their works. He makes a distinction in this statement that He knows where the Christians dwell and where Satan’s seat is. By making this distinction, He is stating that light and darkness do not dwell in the same place. In the light of the heavy pagan surroundings, Christ commends them for holding fast His name. The words “holdest fast” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “to have power or rule over, and hold.” So these Christians held the name of the Lord Jesus in power in the Spirit. They also held on to the Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. They did not deny it. The word “deny” carries with it the meaning of “renounce or disown.” In spite of satanic opposition, the church held on to the testimony and name of Christ, bearing witness to Him in a very pagan area. Antipas was a member of the church at Pergamos and not too much is known of him except for the reference here. The Lord gives him the title of “my faithful martyr.” Notice the Lord does not say “a” but states that he was “my” faithful martyr. This shows the care and knowledge of His children the Lord Jesus possesses.

A little more about Satan’s seat. Some have concluded that Satan’s seat was in the church of Pergamos at that time. There is no doubt that Satan had tried to influence and destroy all the churches but that would not happen because the Lord stated that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. This speaks of Satan and his leaders because in Old Testament times, the rulers of the city would sit by the gates of the city. This why the Lord stated that the gates of Hell or all the power of evil from Satan himself down to the lowest demon could not stop the growth of the church. So therefore, Satan would not have a seat in this church which means that he would not be ruling in that church.

Pergamos was a center of paganism. In that city was a temple which was made to Zeus. However, Pergamos is best remembered as the official cult center of emperor worship in Asia. In 29 B.C. a temple was raised in honor of Augustus Caesar. Then another temple was raised to Trajan who lived from 53-117 A.D. but became emperor from 98-117 A.D. His lifespan would have fallen into the time frame of Revelation. The city was called “the temple warden.” Rome became the center of Satan’s activity in the west and Pergamos became the center of satanic activity in the east. This is why the Lord made a distinction between knowing where His children live and where Satan’s seat is. The word “seat” is actually the word “throne.” So Satan would have had rule over the pagans in Pergamos but he would have no rule in the church.

(Rev 2:14 KJV)
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Nevertheless, although this church had held up the name of Christ and did not abandon the true faith, there were still a few in this church who had held on to the teachings of Balaam. In Numbers 25:1-5, we see the result of the teachings of Baalam. Baalam told the king of Moab to entice the men of Israel with the women of Moab. In Numbers 25:1-5, we see this taking place as God stated they were whoring with these women. The result was that many of the men of Israel had begun to worship the false gods of Moab. What we have here is that some in this church were compromising the true Gospel and began to go after other teachings. The other teachings may have been taken from the surrounding pagan temples and their false ways. We can see this that some of the people in the church were eating things sacrificed to idols. It was probable that some were attending pagan feasts and trying to bring the false ways into the church. Attendance of these pagan feasts were probably done under the idea of social or political atmosphere which can have a devastating effect on someone and can lead them astray. The fornication in view could be those who went to the pagan temples and engaged the services of a temple prostitute or it can simply mean that they were committing spiritual fornication by trying to amalgamate the true Gospel with pagan religion.

(Rev 2:15 KJV)
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

The church at Pergamos like the church at Ephesus also had those who held to the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. For a full explanation see the commentary on 2:6.

(Rev 2:16 KJV)
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

The Lord Jesus here is warning with a commandment to repent. The word “repent” is in the imperative mood which makes it a command. If repentance does not take place quickly, Christ is going to visit that church and will fight against them who hold to these pernicious doctrines. The words “fight against them” in the Greek means “will make war.” The sword of His mouth will be the word of judgment coming from Him. Only a few held this doctrine but it is the responsibility of all believers to keep apostasy out of their church assembly. If false teachings are not stopped with the few who adhere to them, then it is only a matter of time before the entire church will be affected by them. In the modern church we have seen many times over the devastating effects of allowing false teachings in the church which has resulted in the demise of many individual congregations. Real partaking of the false religions was a serious problem at Pergamos and had to be dealt with swiftly or else Christ would come and make war with the guilty ones which could result in the other Christians suffering as well.

(Rev 2:17 KJV)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Here again the Lord is speaking to those who are saved because they are the only ones who have spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to all the churches. Christ promises that those who overcome or are victorious in this matter will be given to eat of the hidden manna. The hidden manna is the word of God as God opens our eyes to truth and the manna also represented the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the white appearance of it on the ground? Then we have read that white signified the purity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The manna was heavenly food and both the word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ would be the spiritual food of the Christian who is walking in the Spirit. The white stone also symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ because he was the corner stone.
(1 Pet 2:6-7 KJV) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. {7} Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, In that white stone, the person will be given a new name. A new name is also associated with a new life.

(Isa 62:2 KJV) And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

Isaiah 62:2 states that the Gentiles shall see the Lord’s righteousness which means this is a prophecy of the coming of the salvation of the Gentiles. The Gentile believers will be given a new name.

(Isa 62:4 KJV) Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

The Gentiles were a forsaken people because they were normally associated with idolatry as we saw those nations which surrounded Israel. No longer will the saved Gentiles be forsaken or desolate. We will be called “Hephzibah” which means “my delight is in her” and “Beulah” which means “married.” From these terms we can see that two of the new names the saved will be called will be the “bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem.” In Revelation 3:12 we are told that the new name will be the name of the God the Father.
(Rev 3:12 KJV) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. Only those who have become saved are going to know what the name is because those who are unsaved will not have spiritual knowledge of the intimate relationship between God and His redeemed children.